Posts filed under ‘CPD’

Despite periodic resolutions to do better, I have so far proved to be a hopelessly erratic blogger. But, when preparing for a recent job interview, I realised again the value of keeping a record of my projects and learning. As I cast my mind back for examples that I might be able to use, I wished I could look at my blog and find a record of my work. So, I have re-resolved to post my teaching experiences and reflections more frequently…

(Happily, I got the job so will continue to have experiences to post!)

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October 14, 2010 at 8:52 pm Leave a comment

Forgiving oneself

Well, after a little rest, I feel a renewed energy and determination for developing my skills as a classroom teacher. However hard it is, there is really nowhere else I would rather be.

I had a lovely conversation with a secondary history teacher a couple of weeks ago, and she said something that resonated with me, “You’ve got to hang on to the ideal – keep aiming to teach the way you know it should be done – but forgive yourself each time you don’t reach that ideal.” She reckoned somewhere into ones third year of teaching, you finish a day and feel you taught exactly the way you wanted to. So there is hope…

April 11, 2010 at 11:38 am 1 comment

Serviceable skill set… looking for a home

A few thoughts crystallised this afternoon having helped some colleagues with a little blog admin task. It felt so good to be doing something I’ve done before – to feel on sure ground, to have knowledge and a skill useful to the group. I’ve missed that feeling!

Six months into my probationary year, I think I’m doing OK, I know I have learned and will keep learning and getting better, and I know some things will get easier with experience. Also, I do believe there’s more than one way to be a good teacher, and I believe everyone can learn and improve, always. But if I’m going to be a teacher, I want to be a really good one. And here’s the thing: I’m already better at other things than I probably ever could be at teaching. Would I be happier, and more use, doing the things that come more naturally?

So I can sort something on the school blog for my colleagues. But have I used the school blog once with my class – to publish their writing perhaps, or photos of their art? No, not once, but my colleagues have. I fully intended to when I started this year, and I still think it’s an important thing to do. It’s my new years resolution. But my ‘tech’ skill is useless, if I can’t do the ‘teach’. And I’ve been so buried under my day-to-day workload I haven’t even updated my own blog, never mind figured out how to get the children onto theirs.

And yet… education is where I want to be. Not necessarily formal, or mainstream, but education, learning, is the thing I really care about. I love learning, particularly about how people learn, and I love helping them to do so. I can’t think of a better use for my time and energy. So where do I belong?

At the moment, this question feels more like an opportunity than a burden. But it does feel like an important one to continue to try to answer, and hopefully the answering will continue to lead me down interesting paths…

January 20, 2010 at 7:35 pm Leave a comment

I think I need some Critical Skills

My tutor brought an interesting leaflet for me when she came to assess me on my placement (I passed – yay!). It’s about the Critical Skills Programme. It sounds so exciting, covering so much that I want to improve, but don’t know how to improve, in my own practice. My tutor went on the programme and highly recommended it, but explained it’s relatively expensive, so in these straightened times, it’s difficult for HT’s to accommodate. However, just thought I would store it here, as a thought for the future…

November 16, 2008 at 7:29 pm Leave a comment

Doing too much

Two major lessons from today’s lessons:

  1. I think I need to work on my ‘stage presence’, or whatever it is that you need to get 29 6-year-olds to listen to you in the gym hall. I feel confident working with individuals and small groups, but commanding the attention of the whole class needs some work. This is most noticeable in the gymn hall and other unstructured spaces. I might try some acting classes! A few more hours sleep might help too (compressing my planning time is also on the to-do list).
  2. Reflecting on this morning’s poetry lesson, I realised I had actually planned two lessons instead of one. Either one on its own would have been fine. But today I think I stressed the children with too much content and not enough time for action learning. And they in turn (quite rightly) stressed me! In the end, we repaired it by giving them more time in the afternoon, and many were very pleased with their poems. I’m still trying to find the right level, pacing and timing with this class. Next week, I think I will plan to do less, but do it better.

My head is spinning, bring on the weekend…

November 13, 2008 at 9:43 pm Leave a comment

Poor neglected blog

Much has happened since my last post (tsk tsk).

  • Practice and reflection has made me feel much more confident in group work now.
  • I had my first placement: two weeks in a nursery, which was part of a primary school. This was really inspiring and a rich opportunity for learning and personal development. I would have blogged about it all at the time, but my computer broke down and was in for repair for three long weeks. My reflective notes were therefore all handwritten – how quaint 😉 The school had an impressively strong and positive ethos and whole-school positive behaviour strategy, strong leadership and lots of support for staff and students. Consequently, it was a happy school community and an ideal start to my placement experiences.
  • Back in uni, lots of good stuff about lesson planning, Assessment is for Learning, behaviour, child development, different curricular areas, equality and inclusion, classroom organisation and management, questioning, thinking skills…

I’m going to try to pick up some of these in subsequent posts. Meantime, I found this interesting pdf article entitled Get Persian on the Change This blog, which I think fits in somewhere, but I’m not sure where. The article describes how businesses can avoid making mistakes by using techniques like devil’s advocacy before taking major decisions. I wonder if there’s scope to introduce children to some of these ideas in connection with problem solving, debating or group work? (Not sure I’d use the terminology, and certainly wouldn’t advocate the Persian’s approach, but the ideas are interesting.)

October 27, 2008 at 7:15 pm Leave a comment

Assertiveness in groups

I realise my posts so far about my PGDE course haven’t been very reflective, nor have they contained much original thought. I’ve been trying to capture the great teaching tips provided by various lecturers, partly because I think they will be of interest to others, but mainly because I think this is the best way for me to store and find them again. I hope that’s not an inappropriate use of a blog, but anyway I’m switching to looking inside today…

We’ve been doing a lot of group work, with plenty more to come. Working so intensely with people who are still strangers (more or less) has made me realise I find group work quite difficult – something I’ve been dimly aware of but hadn’t confronted before. It’s an awkward realisation for someone who’s always counted “communication skills” as a strength. I’ve been wondering what’s going on, and I think it might be something to do with assertiveness, confidence and conflict.

I find conflict difficult (including minor disagreements that most people wouldn’t call conflict). I have to make a conscious effort to continue to listen well and make good contributions when there are differences of opinion in a group, and I don’t always succeed. This is when my role in the discussion is to be “me”. It doesn’t happen in work situations with service users/customers/children/young people. I get a cloak of confidence from having a clear role and professional responsibilities. So, I don’t think this will be an issue in the classroom with children, but it is an issue for working with adult colleagues.

On reflection, I have communication skills in the sense that I can listen well to others and express myself clearly in a variety of ways, but I’m wondering if I lack assertiveness (or not, or maybe, possibly, ummm, what would would I know anyway 😉 I think I’m capable of it, but it’s an effort, it’s much harder with new people, and it falls to pieces in debates/disagreements with peers. I pledge to explore and address this during this course. Tips are very welcome.

September 3, 2008 at 10:47 pm Leave a comment


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